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Charneca, Portugal

Teixeira V.,CIQ UP | Feio M.J.,REQUIMTE | Bastos M.,CIQ UP
Progress in Lipid Research | Year: 2012

Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) take part in the immune system by mounting a first line of defense against pathogens. Recurrent structural and functional aspects are observed among peptides from different sources, particularly the net cationicity and amphipathicity. However, the membrane seems to be the key determinant of their action, either as the main target of the peptide action or by forming a barrier that must be crossed by peptides to target core metabolic pathways. More importantly, the specificity exhibited by antimicrobial peptides relies on the different lipid composition between pathogen and host cells, likely contributing to their spectrum of activity. Several mechanisms of action have been reported, which may involve membrane permeabilization through the formation of pores, membrane thinning or micellization in a detergent-like way. AMPs may also target intracellular components, such as DNA, enzymes and even organelles. More recently, these peptides have been shown to produce membrane perturbation by formation of specific lipid-peptide domains, lateral phase segregation of zwitterionic from anionic phospholipids and even the formation of non-lamellar lipid phases. To countermeasure their activity, some pathogens were successful in developing effective mechanisms of resistance to decrease their susceptibility to AMPs. The functional and integral knowledge of such interactions and the clarification of the complex interplay between molecular determinants of peptides, the pathogen versus host cells dichotomy and the specific microenvironment in which all these elements convene will contribute to an understanding of some elusive aspects of their action and to rationally design novel therapeutic agents to overcome the current antibiotic resistance issue. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Source


Gawande M.B.,REQUIMTE | Pandey R.K.,Marquette University | Jayaram R.V.,Institute of Chemical Technology
Catalysis Science and Technology | Year: 2012

A variety of mixed metal oxides (MMOs), containing alkali, alkaline, rare earth and noble metals, and their applications are presented. In this mini review, we summarize versatile applications of mixed metal oxides in organic synthesis. A variety of reactions such as reduction, oxidation, multicomponent, Mannich, alkylation, condensation, deprotection, cycloaddition, hydroxylation, dehydration, dehydrogenation, transesterification, reactions involving biomimetic oxygen-evolving catalysts and other important C-C bond forming reactions are well presented on the surface of mixed metal oxides under a variety of reaction conditions. The scope of MMOs in important organic reactions, industrial applications, and green chemistry and recent applications of MMOs are well presented in this review. © 2012 oyal Society of Chemistry. Source


Bonifacio V.D.B.,REQUIMTE
Journal of Chemical Education | Year: 2012

A quick response coded audio periodic table of the elements (QR-APTE) was developed using free online resources. The potential of QR-APTE was tested using a smart phone and is envisaged to become a truly powerful tool to teach chemistry to blind and visually impaired students under a mobile-learning environment. © 2012 American Chemical Society and Division of Chemical Education, Inc. Source


Assuncao M.,University of Porto | Santos-Marques M.J.,University of Porto | Carvalho F.,REQUIMTE | Andrade J.P.,University of Porto
Free Radical Biology and Medicine | Year: 2010

We previously found that prolonged consumption of green tea (GT), a rich source of antioxidant polyphenols, protected proteins and lipids against oxidation and reduced lipofuscin deposition in the rat hippocampal formation as well as improving spatial memory during aging. In this work, we sought to investigate whether GT treatment could interfere with age-related changes in redox status and cellular signaling systems related to oxidative stress and survival in the same brain region. To address this issue, five male Wistar rats were fed with GT from 12 to 19 months of age and results were compared to those obtained from controls age 19 months (C-19 M). A third group of rats was evaluated at 12 months of age to provide baseline data. At completion of the specified time points, the glutathione levels and antioxidant enzyme activities, the activation of the transcription factors cyclic AMP response element-binding (CREB) and nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB, p50 and p65 subunits), and the levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and B-cell lymphoma-2 (Bcl-2) were measured in hippocampal formations. GT-treated rats presented higher reduced and lower oxidized glutathione levels and displayed favorable alterations in antioxidant enzyme activities compared to C-19 M animals. In addition, GT increased CREB activation and the levels of BDNF and Bcl-2, but had no effect on activation of NF-κB subunits, relative to age-matched controls. We conclude that long-term GT ingestion improves antioxidant systems and activates CREB in the aging rat hippocampal formation, leading to neuroprotection mediated by downstream upregulation of BDNF and Bcl-2. © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Source


Reis T.C.,REQUIMTE | Correia I.J.,University of Beira Interior | Aguiar-Ricardo A.,REQUIMTE
Nanoscale | Year: 2013

The rational design of three-dimensional electrospun constructs (3DECs) can lead to striking topographies and tailored shapes of electrospun materials. This new generation of materials is suppressing some of the current limitations of the usual 2D non-woven electrospun fiber mats, such as small pore sizes or only flat shaped constructs. Herein, we pursued an explanation for the self-assembly of 3DECs based on electrodynamic simulations and experimental validation. We concluded that the self-assembly process is driven by the establishment of attractive electrostatic forces between the positively charged aerial fibers and the already collected ones, which tend to acquire a negatively charged network oriented towards the nozzle. The in situ polarization degree is strengthened by higher amounts of clustered fibers, and therefore the initial high density fibrous regions are the preliminary motifs for the self-assembly mechanism. As such regions increase their in situ polarization electrostatic repulsive forces will appear, favoring a competitive growth of these self-assembled fibrous clusters. Highly polarized regions will evidence higher distances between consecutive micro-assembled fibers (MAFs). Different processing parameters-deposition time, electric field intensity, concentration of polymer solution, environmental temperature and relative humidity-were evaluated in an attempt to control material's design. © 2013 The Royal Society of Chemistry. Source

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